Who was seduced at the Tree in the Garden?
On a recent podcast the speakers were discussing the abusive treatment of women that had been going on at a megachurch. It was pointed out that in that church women were portrayed as inherently weak. That women needed to be protected by males. And it had been taught that Adam had failed Eve as her protector in the Garden of Eden.
First. Let’s clarify. Who was at that tree? In spite of the many cartoon drawings you may have seen, the woman wasn’t alone with the serpent at the tree. Both humans were there.
When Satan in the serpent spoke he used the plural pronoun in Hebrew for “You two.” He addressed both the woman and the man who was with her.
So who was seduced? Not Eve. The Bible describes her experience differently. Have you ever been deceived? Would you have called that experience a seduction? I think not.
Many people describe what happened at the tree as “the Fall.” As if God created the humans in a state of potential tilt. That they were somehow created by God as unstable and at any moment they could lean over too far and fall. That picture depicts humans as flawed creatures from the beginning.
But they weren’t created that way. Everything was very good on the day they were made. The man was very good. The woman was very good.
I describe what happened at the tree in Genesis 3 differently. I call it “The Attack!” The highest of all the angelic beings attacked them both at the tree. Jesus called that attacker “a liar and a murderer … the father of lies.”
Had the woman ever heard a lie before? And now peppered with a stream of mistruths and false assertions by this great liar Satan deceives her and she eats.
But really. Does anyone worry about Eve being seduced at the tree? When the suggestion of seduction is offered the idea behind it is usually that Eve seduced Adam at the tree. That she talked him into it. That if he wanted his newlywed lover to be happy he had better eat her proffered fruit. She seduced him and he ate.
Oh really? Where did that idea come from? It is not in the text. People remark that the man was silent. And they suggest that he was passive.
Really? Wasn’t he listening very carefully? Wasn’t he studying and learning from the rebellious behavior of the tempter who challenged God? Because later, that is just what the man does. He mimics the serpent tempter. He challenges God. He attacks and blames the woman. And he attacks and blames God while never mentioning the role of the serpent tempter at the tree.
There is a statue in stone on the front portal of a cathedral in France that pictures a sly and smiling Eve seductively offering an apple. The idea conveyed by the sculptor reflects the totally incorrect theology of his day, and perhaps of our day, that Eve was the Temptress.
Oh really? Where did that idea come from? It is not in the text.
Who attacked them? Satan did. Did Satan tempt Eve? Satan deceived Eve.
On the other hand, Adam gave in to the temptation offered by Satan. He rejected God’s words to him and chose to rule over himself.
Adam dethroned God from his rightful place. And he kept right on going desiring to rule over the woman, taking God’s rightful place as her ruler.
I invite you to go deeper. In The Book of Eden, Genesis 2-3 we look into the problematic theology that needs to be cleared up in what is being taught us today. We discover that Genesis 3:16 has been polluted. And we locate the source of that pollution. Happily we find that when the word pollution of Genesis 3:16 is made clear, all the other verses become clear as well.
With this true view of 3:16 are you moved to teach others? To set things right based on what the scripture really says? To put an end to the bad theology and the bad practices we are suffering from in our homes and in our churches?
I invite you to become an official member of the Tru316 Project. Together, we’re making a difference. Already more there have been more than 20,000 downloads of The Eden Podcast. Already Tru316 Chapters are being established in the United States and abroad.
Preach the Word in season and out of season! Teach it clearly and cause others to understand the meaning (Nehemiah 8:8)!
Bruce C. E. Fleming
Founder of the Tru316 Project